Written by Corbett Smith
Colleyville Heritage's Cody Thomas a standout outfielder...with 20 scholarship offers as a QB too
Editor's note: This story originally ran on April 4, 2012.
COLLEYVILLE — Two weeks ago, at the end of his team’s baseball game, Colleyville Heritage’s Cody Thomas hopped in the car and hurried to Cowboys Stadium as quickly as he could. He had to throw a football in front of scouts, recruiting analysts and coaches at the Nike Elite 11 event.
Admittedly, he was a bit rusty before finding his form later in the afternoon. But such is the life of the increasingly rare two-sport star.
“I’m not going to let it be an excuse or anything,” Thomas said. “I went out there and did the best I could. But I think it would have definitely helped if I could have trained a little more for it — have that day off before that, and get some rest.”
The junior outfielder and quarterback is trying to squeeze whatever rest he can get in his busy schedule. This spring, he has helped Heritage to an 8-0 start in District 6-5A and the No. 1 spot in the SportsDayHS Class 5A rankings. Heritage (17-3, 8-0) hosts Euless Trinity on Wednesday night in the second round of district games.
Hitting in the heart of the lineup, behind fellow junior Preston Palmeiro, Thomas is batting .400, with 14 extra-base hits, a .542 on-base percentage, a slugging percentage of .855 and 13 steals.
“He’s been a force in the past, but not like he is now,” Heritage baseball coach Alan McDougal said. “People are very intentional about they way they are going to pitch to him.”
Thomas has managed baseball success while balancing an increasingly hectic recruiting schedule for football. In a loaded class — with Southlake Carroll’s Kenny Hill and Skyline’s Devante Kincade already getting national acclaim during spring camps — Thomas might be the biggest prize of the three for colleges, because of his combination of athleticism and size (6-4 1/2, 215 pounds).
He holds 20 offers, from schools such as Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Oregon, TCU, Texas Tech and USC. He’s met with some of the biggest names in college football — getting an early-morning sit-down with Les Miles at LSU two weeks ago, and having Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops walk over to him during a practice this week.
“It’s been crazy,” Thomas said.
In the fall, Thomas threw for nearly 3,300 yards and 36 touchdowns as Heritage went 9-2.
“You see guys from time to time who can go out on the field in shorts, and they look like Joe Montana or Troy Aikman, just zipping the ball around,” Heritage football coach Mike Fuller said. “In the game, though, when the bullets are flying, they are not where you think they should be. Cody’s the opposite. In games, when the pressure’s on, it comes out of his hand better than at any other time.”
What scouts didn’t see last year is that Thomas can really run. Fuller said he shielded him from the wear and tear of carrying the ball. Thomas hopes that will change next year.
McDougal and his baseball team don’t have the same restrictions. When Thomas beats out a double, his long strides eat up ground.
“You really don’t see top-end speed from him until he makes the turn from first to second …” McDougal said. “Once he gets going, those long legs really get him out there.”